How To: Generate Additional Revenue for your Brand With Merch

Everest Guerra

Everest Guerra

Morning Brew merch store

Hey there! Want to know how to make some extra cash for your business? Custom merch might be the answer! In this article, we'll go over the steps you need to take to design merchandise that resonates with your audience and aligns with your brand, set up an online storefront, and partner with a merch fulfillment company to automate the process. Whether you're a small business owner or a side hustler, creating custom merch can help you generate additional revenue and build brand loyalty. So, let's get started!

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Step 1) Design merch that resonates with your audience

Designing custom merchandise that aligns with your brand and resonates with your audience can be a challenging but rewarding process. Here are some key steps that you can follow to create merchandise that truly reflects your brand and appeals to your audience:

  1. Start with your brand identity: Before you start designing your merchandise, make sure that you have a clear understanding of your brand identity. This includes your brand values, mission, and visual identity (such as your logo, colors, and typography). Your custom merchandise should reflect and reinforce your brand identity to help build brand recognition and loyalty.

  2. Understand your audience: Take the time to understand your audience's interests, preferences, and needs. This could include analyzing data such as customer feedback, sales trends, and social media interactions. By understanding your audience, you can create merchandise that resonates with them and meets their needs.

  3. Brainstorm ideas: With your brand identity and audience insights in mind, brainstorm ideas for your custom merchandise. This could include items such as T-shirts, hats, tote bags, or even more niche items such as phone cases or coffee mugs. Consider what designs, colors, and messaging will appeal to your audience and reflect your brand identity.

  4. Test and refine: Once you have some design ideas, test them with a focus group or through social media to get feedback from your audience. Use this feedback to refine your designs and ensure that they truly resonate with your audience.

  5. Ensure high-quality production: Finally, make sure that your custom merchandise is of high quality and aligns with your brand identity. Work with a reputable printing and production partner to ensure that your merchandise looks and feels great.

By following these steps, you can design custom merchandise that aligns with your brand and resonates with your audience. This can help you build brand loyalty, increase engagement, and generate revenue.

Step 2) Setup an online storefront (Shopify, BigCommerce, etc…)

Setting up an online storefront is a key step in selling custom merchandise for your business. Here are some steps that you can follow to set up an online store to sell your custom merch:

  1. Choose an e-commerce platform: There are a variety of e-commerce platforms available, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Some popular options include Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and Magento. Research each platform to determine the best fit for your business.

  2. Set up your store: Once you've chosen an e-commerce platform, it's time to set up your store. This typically involves selecting a theme or template, customizing your store's design, and adding products. Make sure to include high-quality product photos, detailed descriptions, and pricing information.

  3. Configure payment and shipping options: You'll need to configure payment and shipping options for your store. This typically involves selecting a payment gateway (such as Stripe or PayPal) and setting up shipping rates and options.

  4. Test your store: Before launching your store, it's important to test it to ensure that everything is working correctly. Test the checkout process, payment processing, and shipping options to ensure everything is functioning as expected.

  5. Launch your store: Once you've tested your store and are satisfied that everything is working correctly, it's time to launch it! Make sure to promote your store through social media, email marketing, and other channels to attract customers.

Step 3) Partner with merch fulfillment company or 3PL

Partnering with a merch fulfillment company can help you automate the process of selling custom merchandise for your business. Here are some steps that you can follow to partner with a merch fulfillment company:

  1. Research merch fulfillment companies: There are many merch fulfillment companies available, so it's important to do your research to find the best fit for your business. Look for companies that specialize in the types of merchandise that you want to sell, and that have a good reputation for quality and reliability.

  2. Integrate your e-commerce platform with the merch fulfillment company: Once you've chosen a merch fulfillment company, you'll need to integrate your e-commerce platform with their system. This typically involves setting up an API connection or installing a plugin to facilitate communication between your store and the merch fulfillment company.

  3. Design and upload your merchandise: With the integration set up, you can begin designing and uploading your custom merchandise to the fulfillment company's system. This typically involves selecting the products that you want to sell, customizing their designs, and uploading them to the merch fulfillment company's platform.

  4. Set up automatic order fulfillment: Once your merchandise is uploaded, you can set up automatic order fulfillment through the merch fulfillment company. This typically involves configuring your e-commerce platform to automatically send order information to the fulfillment company, who will then print and ship the merchandise directly to your customers.

  5. Monitor and optimize your sales: With your automated merch fulfillment system in place, you can monitor and optimize your sales to ensure that you're maximizing revenue. This could involve testing different product designs, pricing strategies, and promotional campaigns to see what works best for your business.

What types of businesses can benefit from merch?

Custom merchandise can benefit many businesses, from small startups to established corporations. Any business with a loyal fanbase or customer following can leverage custom merch to generate additional revenue, build brand loyalty, and increase engagement. Here are a few examples of the types of businesses that can benefit from merch:

  1. E-commerce stores: Online stores selling physical products can use custom merch to increase revenue and attract new customers.

  2. Influencers and content creators: Social media influencers and content creators can create merchandise featuring their branding, slogans, or logos to monetize their fan base and expand their reach.

  3. Music and entertainment: Musicians, bands, and entertainment brands can use custom merch to generate additional revenue, promote new releases, and reward loyal fans.

  4. Sports teams and organizations: Sports teams and organizations can create merchandise featuring team logos, slogans, and fan gear to generate revenue and increase fan engagement.

  5. Non-profits and charities: Non-profit organizations and charities can use custom merch to reward donors and promote their cause, while also generating additional revenue.

Overall, custom merch can benefit any business with a loyal fan base or customer following, regardless of the industry or niche. By leveraging custom merch, businesses can strengthen their brand, increase engagement, and drive additional revenue.

How do I know if my business is ready for custom merch?

If you're considering creating custom merch for your business, there are a few things to consider to determine if you're ready:

  1. Loyal fan base or customer following: Does your business have a strong, engaged fan base or customer following? Creating custom merch is most successful when there is already an established community around your brand.

  2. Brand identity: Is your brand well-defined with a clear visual identity, logos, slogans, or other design elements that can be incorporated into custom merch? If not, it may be worth spending some time developing your brand identity first.

  3. Budget: Creating custom merch can require a significant upfront investment, especially if you're ordering large quantities or investing in high-quality materials. Make sure you have a budget in place to cover these expenses.

  4. Fulfillment strategy: Do you have a plan in place for how you will handle merch fulfillment and shipping? Whether you plan to handle it in-house or partner with a fulfillment company, you'll need to have a plan in place to ensure orders are processed and shipped quickly.

  5. Goals: What do you hope to achieve by creating custom merch for your business? Do you want to generate additional revenue, increase brand awareness, or build brand loyalty? Understanding your goals can help you create a more effective merch strategy.

By considering these factors, you can determine if your business is ready to create custom merch. If you have an engaged fan base, a clear brand identity, a budget in place, a fulfillment strategy, and clear goals, custom merch can be a great way to drive additional revenue and strengthen your brand.

Examples of brands using merch successfully

There are many brands that have successfully leveraged custom merch to generate additional revenue and strengthen their brand identity. Here are a few examples:

  • Red Bull: Energy drink brand Red Bull has a strong focus on sports and entertainment, and their custom merch reflects that. From branded skateboards to limited-edition hats, Red Bull has created a wide range of merchandise that appeals to their audience.

  • Mr. Beast: YouTuber and philanthropist Mr. Beast has built a massive following on social media, and he's used custom merch to monetize his brand. His merch features his signature phrase, "Beast Mode," and includes hoodies, t-shirts, and other apparel. In addition to apparel, YouTuber Mr. Beast has created branded items such as limited edition plush toys, pop sockets, and a Mr. Beast themed Monopoly game. These items are popular with his young audience and help to build his brand.

  • Morning Brew: Business newsletter Morning Brew has leveraged their brand to create a line of branded items, including a branded mug, notebook, and t-shirt. These items are popular with their loyal subscriber base and help to build brand awareness.

  • WeWork: Co-working giant WeWork has created branded merchandise for their members, including water bottles, notebooks, and even a WeWork-branded beanie. These items help to create a sense of community and belonging among members.=

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